Canadians ahead of Americans in taking vacation

But nearly 6 in 10 Canadians vacation deprived, finds report

Canadians ahead of Americans in taking vacation

When it comes to taking time off from work and doing some vacationing, Canadians are ahead of Americans, according to a recent report.

On average, Canadians take seven more vacation days annually than their American neighbours, reports Expedia.

And while 58% of Canadians report feeling vacation deprived, the number jumps to 65% among Americans.

Still, less than half (45%) of Canadians used all their vacation days in 2023. And only a quarter have already booked or taken vacation in the current year, according to the survey of 11,580 respondents across the U.S., UK, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, conducted, on behalf of Expedia by Harris Research Partners, on March 26 to April 3, 2024.

In 2023, 57% of Canadian employees claimed they were vacation deprived, according to a previous report.

Best approaches to taking time off work

"We may not be able to control how many days off we get, but the research begs the question: What can we learn from other countries that will help Canadians use their time off to the fullest extent," says Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group brands public relations. 

"In Japan, people take time off every month instead of just twice a year. For the French, a full month of vacation still doesn't feel like enough time. Clearly there's a lot to borrow from, whether it's spreading your PTO throughout the year or prioritizing rest on your next vacation."

To help workers, Canadian employers can share the following tips – based on the data from other countries – to workers, according to Expedia:

  • Make weekends count: In Japan, workers are almost seven times more likely to vacation monthly compared to Canadian workers (32% vs. 5%). This is the case even though Japanese workers take just 12 days off annually compared to 18 among Canadians.

The Japanese are able to do this by taking advantage of federal holidays or office and school closures to schedule frequent, short getaways that allow for a break from the routine and a quick refresh between longer trips, without dipping into precious PTO.

  • Prioritize rest and recreation (R&R): Canadians rank lower in terms of prioritizing rest and relaxation during their trips (65%), while it's the number one goal for 84% of Japanese travellers, perhaps contributing to lower feelings of deprivation, according to Expedia.
  • Spread it out: One in five Canadians (20%) didn't use all their time off in 2023 because they were saving up for a big trip, then often ended up leaving days unused.

Meanwhile, nearly a third (30%) of French workers opt to spread their days out evenly throughout the year instead. Globally, the French take the most days, according to Expedia. “Taking the pressure off a big annual trip can be a time, money and PTO saver for deprived Canadian travellers,” says Expedia.

"No one means to leave vacation days behind, but life gets busy and it's the research, planning and booking part that slows us down," says Fish. "Some 47% of Canadians say they feel overwhelmed by the process, but the good news is, in 2024 there's tech that makes it easier. If it's flight prices keeping you up at night, Price Tracking in the app helps members book without the stress and get to the fun part — vacation."

Here’s how to use vacation entitlements effectively, according to one expert.

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